Amy Movie Poster

Amy Movie Poster

Towards the end of Amy, her idol Tony Bennett comments that she has one of the true voices and should be remembered in the same vain as Billie Holiday. This struck a sore point in me, clearly highlighting the difference in the way musicians were treated then to now.

A review of Amy said that instead of questioning Amy’s behavior, the film often asks us to question ourselves. These words could not be truer because as a nation, we used her beautiful voice in a way not dissimilar to the way dredgers rape our seabed. She was forced into drinking, the vice that eventually killed her, when her management made it clear she would be going abroad touring no matter how mentally ill she was. Unbelievably, Amy was found passed out and was dragged on to the plane and woke up in a different country, completely unaware of where she was and how she got there. Amy suffered from depression, bulimia and alcoholism and this was never taken into consideration. The recent Dave Grohl leg break shows the vast difference in the way we treat physically ill musicians to mentally ill musicians.

Her final ever performance came soon and unsurprisingly, Amy was in no state to sing. Her forced travel had driven her to drink and she was roundly booed on the last time she ever stood on a stage; all because of her brutal treatment at the hands of her management.

Another particularly powerful part of the film is the intrusive nature of the cameras and the media. Every time Amy leaves her house she is snapped by hundreds of cameras and the film makes us feel like Amy, as if the cameras are snapping us. It is blinding and infuriating; at one point the cameras are so keen to capture a mentally ill person they walk into her, even managing to bang the camera against her head. She is treated this way in her most private moments, when she leaves rehab, when she emerges after a fight with former husband Blake and when she steps out of her house. Such treatment would make anyone go mad.

When she is at her lowest point, insensitive TV personalities make jokes about her, mocking what is really an illness. They wouldn’t mock a musician with cancer, so why mock Amy? I hope after watching, people like Graham Norton, Frankie Boyle and all of the camera men truly reflect on their own behavior, which like her management was brutal.

Amy Winehouse is the Billie Holiday of our generation and this film truly shows how we need to reassess how we currently treat our artists. It must be remembered that musicians are the jewels of our human existence, music is the only remaining magic in this world and they make it happen. Amy was a particularly special musician and bared her heart to us, only to receive callous and brutal treatment.

At the end of the film Amy’s bodybag is carried to an ambulance and I can’t help but think that we may as well have carried it ourselves. As it was our obsession with her downfall that put cameras onto the street and we were the ones laughing at Graham Norton’s cruel jokes. Billie Holiday was never forced into a bodybag but Amy was and that is the result of our sick obsessive generation. Amy cast magic into our often grey world but was thrown out like an unwanted consumer product and that’s what we did we consumed her every thought, her mistakes and her breath until she could breathe no more. We sucked her blood like leaches and forced into her an early grave. Let’s make sure though that her life, leaves behind more than her music and ensure we never treat musicians in this way again, ever. Amy, I hope you have now found the peace this world could never give you. Thanks for the music. Music never dies.

Paddy Kinsella

Hi all, my name is Paddy and I have a love for everything from African music to indie to house (basically anything other than heavy metal). Gigging and listening to albums are genuinely the things I most value and love doing.